YUMA, Ariz. – The recent football coaching change at Yuma Catholic can be defined as “the end of an era.” One great football coach passing the whistle and playbook over to another coach who’s ready to prove himself; with the ongoing mission of keeping Shamrock football synonymous with the word “excellence”.
For the last nine years, Rhett Stallworth has changed the Yuma Catholic football culture, making the program the most successful in the Yuma area to this day. He’s now moving over to the principal’s chair and handing the head coaching duties to Aaron Cheatwood. As the team’s former assistant coach, Cheatwood has helped develop the Shamrocks into a state football powerhouse; winning three state titles within the last five years. Stallworth credits Cheatwood’s experience on his coaching staff as a big qualifier for his appointment.
“Having that inside knowledge and being a part of that building, he’s just going to be able to just pick up the ball and run and make that transition as seamless as possible.”
Even though Cheatwood’s coaching experience dates back to Arizona Western College several years ago, this will be the first time he’s taken on the role as a head coach. Cheatwood says he’s ready for it and gives Stallworth a lot of credit in preparing him for this opportunity over the past six years.
“I’ve learned immense amount of information from him; from calling plays to managing players, to managing parents, to managing the school board, to managing the community.”
Stallworth’s departure from football does leave a large shadow at Yuma Catholic. Cheatwood will have the challenge of establishing his own identity as a coach and leaving his own mark with Shamrocks football. But, the Rocks new coach isn’t putting any pressure on himself.
“Every coach has his own personality; his own coaching style. So, it’s going to be different. I can’t pinpoint a single thing I’m going to do different, but I’m just going to be myself and go out there and coach football the way I know how to.”
Cheatwood plans on keeping Stallworth’s established system of success (based on discipline and structure) in place with the goal of keeping expectations high of winning on the field and that support extends beyond the coaching staff and to the school’s administration. Rhett Stallworth himself expressed his continued support for the furthering of Shamrocks football under Cheatwood’s leadership.
“It may look a little different and things like that, but the program will continue and we’ll make sure it’s a good, high quality program.”